April 15, 2014 (Pala)--The Pala Band of Mission Indians announced today that Tribal Chairman Robert Smith will be recognized as Community Partner of the Year by the San Diego County School Boards Association at an awards ceremony on May 2.
Chairman Smith was nominated for the award by Bonsall Union School District Superintendent Justin Cunningham. The award is given each year to an individual or organization in San Diego County that demonstrates exemplary support for local schools.
Cunningham wrote in his letter, “A visionary, innovative, yet wise leader, Chairman Smith has advocated for the needs of all students in a variety of ways . . . From facilities, transportation, technology, instructional resources, to personnel and health services, Chairman Smith has led the Pala Band of Mission Indians to become recognized as a ‘Strength’ to be counted on.”
Last year alone the Pala Band of Mission Indians contributed over $270,000 to support various programs in the Bonsall Union School District. The Tribe has contributed over $700,000 in the past five years to the school district.
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Pala Band of Mission Indians,” said Chairman Smith. “Education is the key to ensuring that today’s students learn the skills to be successful leaders for our region in the future. The Pala Band of Mission Indians is committed to helping as many students as possible receive a high-quality education.”
Chairman Smith will receive the award on May 2 at the 12th “Honoring Our Own” Awards Ceremony by the San Diego County School Boards Association. Individuals interested in attending the event can contact Kimberly Roberts at (858) 292-3846 by April 16 to register.
The Pala Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized tribe whose reservation is located along the Palomar Mountain range approximately 30 miles northeast of San Diego. The majority of the over 900 tribal members live on the 12,000-acre reservation, established for Cupeño and Luiseño Indians, who consider themselves to be one proud people - Pala.